Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BRAG (04/20/17)
- TITLE: Stage Mother
By PamFord Davis
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I’m in complete control and I know it. Top brass at the studio might refuse my calls but the stack of messages proves my persistence. Stage mothers do not get the respect we deserve. If we didn’t keep plugging for our kids, their names would never be beneath the stars of dressing room doors.
My mind is in a whirl as I toss the latest Variety across the couch. The magazine hits a cup of morning coffee dregs and spills from an end table down onto the carpet.
Humph… Controlling and selfish!
A critic has used his poison pen in an attempt to smear my reputation.
Admittedly, I control my curly head daughter’s career; Sissy is our family’s lunch ticket. Sure, she’s got talent; I’ll give her that much credit. Her cute cheeks and rhythm came to my attention very early; I had her on stage performing at the tender age of 3. She’s in the spotlights but it was me who shaped potential into stardom.
Be realistic, it’s the 1930’s; it takes more than talent to succeed in show business today.
In the past, I scrimped and saved to pay for her singing and dancing lessons. I taught her how to light up a room with a smile, to hold a curtsey… and all the while wrap agents and producers around her baby finger.
Wonder if her clothes are back from the drycleaners…
I painstakingly choose her wardrobe; she twirls in taffeta. Mary Pickford never had it so good.
“Mother, my head hurts. Can you call the studio? ”
“I will not! Over my dead body! This role is to die for and you are sure to cinch an academy award nomination! Have you been studying the script? Memorized your lines?”
“Yes, I know my part. I’m ready.”
“Well, I should hope so! Little lady, you are not going to embarrass me. The other stage mothers are just waiting for you to foul up. Their girls are primped and standing in the wings. Do you want to hurt me? Is that what you want?”
“No, I just thought maybe…”
“Maybe, maybe what? Maybe you could just stay in your room, listen to the radio? Eat chocolates and then take a nap? No! You will march right back to your room, put on the clothes the maid laid out and come back here for my approval. Do you hear me?”
Like a scolded dog, the youngster sadly walks towards the hallway and into her fairytale bedroom. She does not answer the parting question. Yes, she hears the cutting remarks. They are nothing new; right now, they hurt more than her splitting headache.
Why is my being in the movies so important?
Pulling simple gingham over her petticoat, she gazes into the full length mirror.
Mom still dresses me like a 6 year old. I’m 12. I think she knows I’m growing up. Yes and it scares her. The studio is just as bad. Shorten her dress; put more bows in her hair.
The chauffer arrives just as Sissy finishes dressing. Reaching for her script on the vanity table she takes a final look in the lighted mirror. Scenes from movie trailers flash across her mind.
Cute, I’m tired of being cute!
“Darling, your ride is here. Don’t dawdle! Good, you’re ready. Turn around, let me look at you. Well, I guess it’ll do. Here, take these aspirin. Careful, don’t spill the water on your clothes. Okay, go on now. I’ll take a taxi and meet you in your dressing room after a while. First, I need to give the publicity man a piece of my mind! The studio pays him a big salary and it’s time he earned it!”
As the chauffer drives off with his prized cargo a familiar voice comes from the Motorola radio.
Louella Parsons, wonder what celebrity news she’ll have today…
Louella, I love you! Opening story, you had the debut of Sissy’s movie opening as lead in story! This is the epitome of success. Saturday night I’ll walk the red carpet; dripping in sables and with the little leading lady in tow!
Me, I did it.
I took my snotty nosed kid and turned her into a child star.
Fiction… The biographies of Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Deanna Durbin and Jane Withers are interesting reading. Many child stars had difficult lives; some had controlling mothers.
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